Here is a simple guide to ensure that you are making the most of your marketing budget and getting the right message to the right people to earn yourself the best returns. The big bonus is that while you are doing this you are actually creating relevant content for your website, social media, blog, adverts and articles too! You will also learn how to prioritise your target markets for the best return on investment AND review or update your USP angle too!
Return on Investment
There are two ways of maximising your budget and your time carefully for effective return on investment: Segmentation and Marketing Planning.
Segmenting your market = break down your target market into groups by their common characteristics, for example an organic hair salon that is Eco and Vegan Friendly (ie no leather seats, bamboo floors etc) in Birmingham City Centre has lots of different segments who have differing wants and needs: ladies, men, professionals (eg the accountants and solicitors etc) city workers (eg those that work in shops and restaurants in the city), ladies that lunch, vegans, eco-aware people, children, brides, etc.
Why segment? If you target everyone with images, wording and offers that are not relevant to them they may not be interested or may think it is not for them. If you change images, wording, pricing etc eg: lunchtime cut for city workers, pamper package for ladies that lunch, school holidays special kids cut price etc it will have relevance and appear more attractive.
Also, by dividing up your market you can then focus on what each segment needs and wants, eg: low price or added extras or quick turnaround times etc. It is vital that your marketing materials have relevance in order to gain maximum impact. This also helps you to spend your marketing budget wisely using only the methods that reach that particular segment (eg different social media platforms etc).
Planning for short, medium and long terms goals, preparing a sales forecast and cash flow forecast based upon your findings will help you to maximize your budget. And here is how you can start your planning process:
7 Steps to Effective Target Marketing
Step 1 – Make a list of the products and services that you offer. Describe them, explain what the benefits are and what makes them different and special.
Step 2 – Now list which different segments of the market each product/service appeals to.
Step 3 – Prioritise! Which is the best target based on the return on investment – eg how much time and money will you need to spend to reach that target market compared to the estimated return – eg number of orders at £xxx value over a period of time.
Step 4 – This is where you get some great content for social media, website, blog articles etc: For each of your products/services, based upon the target markets, what do you think they want? What do they need? What are their pain points? How do you help them? For example, they may want value for money but need a quick delivery time, their pain points might be that they may need to return unwanted goods – is there a cost involved. How you address these can be a great way of preparing a post for social media or a blog or as wording on your website.
Step 5 – SO! How do you KNOW what they want? What they need? This is where you research your market and ask them.
Step 6 – Competitor research – analyse their offer in relation to yours – what else do they offer? Are there any gaps? Does your product/service fill that gap? Why is yours more appealing? How do others market themselves? What could you do better? Don’t just research locally, choose different areas or cities (or even countries) to get a wider perspective.
Step 7 – Contacting your target markets. This is where you can make your marketing plan – short, medium and long term, based on your priorities in Step 3. You can then plan your sales forecast, cash flow forecast and work out your budgets. So, think – where do your target markets go? What do they do? Are they in any groups or associations? What social media platforms do they use? How can you connect with them? What networking groups (if any) would they attend? The aim of your marketing plan is to let people know who you are, what you do and how to contact you.
From your research you may well have identified a gap in the market or a better way of promoting yourself – do you have a new tag line? What is your USP – why are you different?
This is a snapshot of how to start writing an effective marketing plan. If you would like details of the Fully Funded* Business Support on offer from the Coventry and Warks Chamber of Commerce where you can access my help to work on marketing and other topics for your business, (open to Members and non-Members), please contact me!
Written by Marie Stephenson
Business Advisor at the Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce
07766 366 057